From the Blogposts » inbox

CFers Have Odd Smells

This entry is part [part not set] of 19 in the series What CFers Do

Sweet SmellsThis post may not be for everyone, but I know my CFers and their spouses will know what this is all about: those CF smells.

We have a lot of them. Some are bacterial and you can smell it around our noses and mouths, some are medicinal and they build up and ooze out of our pores or exit in the bathroom right next to someone else, while others are just obscene bodily functions. Am I right, CFers? Am I right?

Here’s my run-down, and I’d love to hear if you all have different smells or different sources that create them.

  • Sweat – after enough time letting things grow after exercise or just a hot day, I take on a sweet, onion-y smell. It’s rather similar to a Subway sub with onions or a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. It’s not bad, but not something you want to smell all day, you know?
  • Sinuses – I get 2 smells out of my nose. One, I can smell, and I call it “wet dog” smell. That’s what happens when a certain bacteria up there takes over and signals that it’s time to get sucked out again. The other, Beautiful can smell, and she calls it “tomato soup.” We are pretty sure that’s Pseudomonas creating that smell, and it’s most prevalent in the morning when she wakes me up.
  • Lungs – I also get “soggy Corn Chex” in my lungs with good spasms that bring up gunk that smells like a breakfast gone bad. Another sign that I need more antibiotics. I’d say the hemoptysis situation is more of a taste than a smell, but it does have its precursors before it presents itself in a more outward fashion, as I got to test once again in California.
  • Skin – after a few days on IVs, I begin to smell like my medication all over. Just sitting on the couch and I get a whiff of Zosyn or something, only I haven’t had my does in 3 hours.
  • Number One – the docs always put me on tobramycin and one other med. That other med, not matter which one, does horrible things to my fluid excretions. When I was working in the office and would go to the bathroom, if someone else was in there, I’d walk back out and go to another one, because the smell is that strong. I didn’t want to have to get drug tested because I was on IVs – who knows what would show up in my tests?
  • The obvious: Gas – CFers almost universally have bloating issues. With how much intestine I had taken out at birth, I really experience bad bloating, but it’s gotten better since using Zenpep. My youth pastor growing up in Ohio called me woodsmoke – one of my many “flavors.”

Do you have different flavors or sources of the same flavors as me? This is definitely something that binds us. Parental stories not appropriate for mixed company will be moderated, as “poop” has been a favorite topic recently.